Date:January 5, 1999
Re:COBOL Workbench evolution
Since its introduction in 1992, GCOS-8 COBOL Workbench has been based on Micro Focus COBOL Workbench technology. With Micro Focus being the continued leader in COBOL technology, this decision has proven itself wise and has secured our G8WB customers.
B & C Solution will continue to enhance its G8WB product line, both through introduction of new and enhanced GCOS-8 specific features, and through Micro Focus COBOL Workbench evolution.
Micro Focus product evolution
Back in 1992, Micro Focus was offering COBOL Workbench v2.5 - a 16-bit product for DOS, Windows 3.x and OS/2 with high level of flexibility and open towards integration of third-party products, like G8WB. The 16-bit product line has evolved through v3.0, v3.1, v3.2 and the latest v3.4. V3.4 support DOS, Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT and OS/2 platforms. Micro Focus has decided to phase out the 16-bit product line, and Micro Focus will discontinue active product support effectively June-2000.
A 32-bit product line emerged first with Micro Focus Object COBOL and the latest COBOL Workbench v4.0. The 32-bit product line had, like 16-bit, a high level of flexibility and was open towards integration of third-party products, like G8WB. Besides easing a number of limitations and providing a significant performance improvement, the emphasis for the 32-bit product has been on GUI features and functionality, like Animator2 and Advanced Organisor. V4.0 support Windows 95, 98, NT and OS/2. Micro Focus has decided to phase out the current 32-bit product line, and will discontinue active product support effectively June-2001.
A new 32-bit product line was first introduced with Visual Object COBOL, which evolved into Micro Focus NetExpress product in 1997 and the latest Mainframe Express product in 1998. Instead of the common COBOL Workbench product, Micro Focus now offer two separate COBOL Workbench products:
NetExpress: A state-of-the-art COBOL Workbench product to support development of distributed and Internet applications for Windows 9x and NT platforms.
Mainframe Express: A state-of-the-art COBOL Workbench to support development and maintenance of IBM mainframe application systems on Windows 9x and NT platforms.
Both products much more tailored to specific application needs, and are initially much more closed for integration of third-party products, like G8WB. Micro Focus is aware of this fact and are now working with a number of third-party software developers, including B & C Solution, to make coming releases of the product line more open and to standardize the way such third-party software integration may be done. A new "Integrator-training" and "Integrator-certification" program has been launched, and activities are starting February-1999.
Note: Discontinuation of active product support means Micro Focus will no longer issue maintenance releases, will reduce support staff for these products to a minimum and will only provide fixes on special requests.
G8WB product evolution
Since its introduction in 1992, G8WB has evolved alongside the Micro Focus COBOL Workbench product line, and has continued to achieve a better integration. Both new and enhanced GCOS-8 specific features and MFWB specific features has been made available, and today both the 16-bit and 32-bit product offer provides a strong platform for BULL GCOS-8 mainframe customers.
Today B & C Solution offer and support the following G8WB products:
G8WB v1.1 (16-bit): Older G8WB version with support of INSTAL/1 and FOUNDATION from Andersen Consulting (based on MFWB 3.1)
G8WB v1.2 (16-bit): G8WB version based on MFWB v3.4, supporting DOS, Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT and OS/2 platforms.
G8WB v1.4 (32-bit): G8WB version based on MFWB v4.0, supporting Windows 95, 98, NT and OS/2 platforms.
B & C Solution will continue to support above products as long as we have customers using these products. After active product support for MFWB products has been discontinued, B & C Solution will, to the extent possible, attempt to find workaround solution to problems originating from MFWB products, and co-operate with customer and Micro Focus to resolve problems, if so required.
"Tomorrow" B & C Solution will offer and support the following G8WB products in addition:
GCOS-8 Mainframe Express: G8WB version based on MF Mainframe Express, supporting Windows 95, 98 and NT.
B & C Solution has evaluated both NetExpress and Mainframe Express extensively, and is working actively with Micro Focus to find the best possible integration of G8WB features into Mainframe Express, and we expect to release the new GCOS-8 Mainframe Express product during second half of 1999.
Both Micro Focus and B & C Solution offer migration plans for customers using 16-bit product line and will likewise offer migration plans for customers using the current 32-bit product line. For existing and new BULL GCOS-8 customers we recommend:
Existing G8WB 16-bit customers: Upgrade to G8WB 32-bit if you want to upgrade now or need CHAR Mode, or wait and upgrade to G8MFE (GUI Mode only).
Existing G8WB 32-bit customers: Wait and upgrade to G8MFE when it becomes available.
New G8WB customers: Purchase G8WB 32-bit now and upgrade to G8MFE later.
Mixed-shop customers (BULL and IBM): Continue with G8WB and MFWB 32-bit for BULL and IBM, or upgrade MFWB-32bit to MFE now for IBM, and G8MFE later for BULL.
GCOS-8 COBOL Workbench is a trademark of B & C Solution Sarl. All other trademarks and trade names belong to their respective companies. Copyright (C) 1999 B & C Solution Sarl. All Rights Reserved.